Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
An ARC was provided by Miss Print's ARC Adoption program in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president's son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie's dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.
And not a single word from Logan.
Maddie tells herself it's okay. After all, she's the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.
But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.
Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Ally Carter was one of my first forays into YA, and to this day her Heist Society trilogy holds a special place in my heart. And while I'll read anything else she writes, her recent novels haven't met my expectations.
Something has shifted in her writing style, I feel like, which I've noticed since the first Embassy Row book, All Fall Down. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the writing style feels too basic. Maddie's voice in Not If I Save You First was distinct from Grace's in Embassy Row, but the style still seemed too similar. Additionally, Maddie and Logan sounded too similar, in my opinion so the jumps between their POVs within the same chapter didn't transition like they should have.
The climax spiraled too fast, and the denouement was too short.
I did like that Stefan had depth. Maddie did, too, but I felt like I was always on the edge of actually knowing her. She felt too cut and dry for a protagonist.
The romance between Maddie and Logan felt a bit expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I would've liked Carter to do something to develop it that wouldn't have been expected.
Content warnings: violence (some gunshot wounds, an explosion, various other fights and injuries).
The Verdict: I'm sad. This is the first Ally Carter book I haven't loved (or at least liked, in the case of Embassy Row.)
Will I add this book to my library?: For the first time ever, I don't really want an Ally Carter novel.